Amid the furniture, carpets, necklaces and objet d’art going under the hammer in Adelaide on the weekend, item 167, the second last in the auction, is distinctively different.
It’s a complete set of Australia’s most famous wine, Penfolds Bin 95 Grange – all 62 bottles from the first experimental vintage by Max Schubert in 1951, to Peter Gago’s current $850 2012 edition, which scored 99/100 in the Halliday Wine Companion released this week.
Auction house du Plessis has set the expected price at between $250,000 and $280,000, but don’t be surprised it the price tops $300,000. A single bottle of 1951 sold last month for $51,750 at auction and only about 20 bottles from that vintage are believed to still have the cork in the top.
Auctioneer Marc du Plessis told Business Insider that if you tried to buy the collection individually from a wine retailer, the cost would be in excess of $300,000, without the ’51.
“The astute buyer could save over $100,000 by buying it at auction this Sunday,” he said.
“There are very few complete sets in the world, and one only comes up at auction every 10 to 15 years. This is the first set we have offered in our 50-plus years in the auction industry.”
The owner has collected the set over 25 years as an investment and has been putting together a second set, although those early vintages are hard to come by.
Dan Murphy’s several of the 1950s wines for sale, but expect to pay $30,000 to $35,000 a bottle. They don’t have a ’51, which incidentally, went into hand-blown bottles and was 100% shiraz.
But note that you’re probably buying it for investment rather than cracking it open when the mates come around for the grand final barbecue next month – the Penfolds bible of tasting notes, Rewards of Patience, has most of the ’50s wines rated as “now… past” as the drinking window.
If you did want to break up this set, you’ll know that these wines are in good nick. Many have been inspected by Penfolds in recent years and bear the stickers of their regular recorking clinics.
Several bottles of the 1951 were opened during the 2012 re-corking clinics. Here’s what the Rewards of Patience notes say:
The wine itself is past its peak although some bottles still have fruit sweetness and flavour length. Largely the wine has a dull tawny colour and skeletal palate structure with little flesh and fading tannins.
du Plessis says the owner of this set, who works in the building industry, is an avid wine of wine and looked after his investment with exceptional care.
If you’re interest, check out the du Plessis website for details.
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